Riley Cornelio strikes out 14 in a dominant Sunday start
The best team in the Northwoods League looked the part Sunday and Monday, as the 2021 playoffs got underway.
The St. Cloud Rox (52-18) rolled down to Mankato Sunday afternoon and demolished a short-handed MoonDogs squad, 10-0.
Riley Cornelio posted 14 strikeouts over seven innings, a single-game St. Cloud record. The TCU product didn’t allow a hit after the first inning.
The offense was paced by a team-leading seventh home run of the summer for offensive MVP Otto Kemp, who also set the Rox single-season record for runs scored.
Hunter Dollander delivers a pitch Monday in St. Cloud
Twenty-six hours later, on a breezy Monday night in central Minnesota, Rox ace Hunter Dollander was effective through five innings, allowing two runs. But in just his second Northwoods League start, Mankato right-hander Simon Gregersen matched Dollander into the seventh before a MoonDogs defensive implosion led to six St. Cloud runs on only three hits. Mankato committed four errors in the decisive inning.
The Rox will take on Waterloo, who finished off Duluth Monday, in the Great Plains Championship game Tuesday night at Joe Faber Field. St. Cloud took five of eight contests during the regular season from Waterloo.
St. Cloud has been near unbeatable in their home ballpark